Importance of the Jury System
Events planned for May 1st
April 24, 2007
(Cheyenne) - In conjunction with Law Day - May 1st - the Wyoming State Bar is partnering with others in the legal community to point out the importance of the jury system.
Under the leadership of Hon. William F. Downes, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court - District of Wyoming, and Hon. E. James Burke, Wyoming Supreme Court Justice, representatives from the Wyoming State Bar, U.S. District Court, the Wyoming Supreme Court, Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, and Clerks of Court have been actively planning various events around Wyoming. Most events will take place on May 1st.
The purpose of the events is to not only recognize those citizens who have previously served on a Wyoming jury, but to also recognize employers who are particularly accommodating to employees who have been called to serve. Public misconceptions oftentimes cause poor juror turnout. Another benefit of the recognition events is to dispel those myths and change the perception of jury duty.
All 23 counties in Wyoming will be hosting some sort of recognition event. Activities include open houses in the local courthouses, speeches from members of the judiciary, mock trials involving the local schools, barbeques open to the public, advertisements in local newspapers, and guest appearances on television and radio talk shows.
Sublette County is planning a reception with cookies and punch being served. In addition, there will be a mock trial skit performed by students. Plans are under way to include advertisements of appreciation in the local newspapers. CONTACT: Marilyn Jensen, District Court Clerk, (307) 367-4376.
On Tuesday, May 1st, at 7:00 PM, Wyoming Public Television will present, “INSIDE A WYOMING JURY” - An exclusive look at ordinary citizens doing the work of justice.
On the morning of December 16, 1996, Martin Trusky was shot in the head at his home north of Glenrock. Martin’s wife Wendy claimed she fired in self-defense, that she was only protecting herself from another of Martin’s beatings. But the state of Wyoming viewed the facts differently, and Wendy was charged with first-degree murder. Wendy was the only witness to the alleged crime, and that made it difficult for a jury of her peers to determine if she really pre-meditated the murder of her husband.
Wyoming Public Television, in partnership with the Wyoming State Bar, selected the Trusky murder case when it set out to create an educational mock trial experience. The result: An hour-long program titled INSIDE A WYOMING JURY, which aspires to raise public awareness about jury duty, and boost enthusiasm for jury service.
Two alternates from the real Trusky jury joined 10 other experienced jurors on February 27 in a Casper courtroom to hear Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Rankin and State Public Defender Diane Lozano deliver opposing theories about what might have happened to Martin Trusky. Judge William F. Downes, Chief Judge for the U.S. District of Wyoming, presided over the mock proceedings, and instructed the jury before it began deliberations in the privacy of the jury room.
Cameras from Wyoming Public Television followed all the action, and in honor of Law Day on May 1, WPTV offers an exclusive look at what usually happens in private. INSIDE A WYOMING JURY captures extraordinary exchanges between ordinary citizens doing the work of justice. Jurors compare their mock debate with their real service on notable Wyoming cases, such as the notorious self-defense acquittal of Rock Springs lawman Ed Cantrell.
Tune into Wyoming Public Television at 7:00 PM on May 1st to find out how the mock jury’s verdict compares with the findings of the real Trusky jury.
Information from this story was gleaned from the Wyoming State Bar website, www.wyomingbar.org